Quick and Effortless Meals to Make on Vacation

easy meals to make on vacation

You get to your vacation spot, unpack everything and are ready to relax and enjoy all the area has to offer only to realize that everyone needs to eat! This year, that presents more complications than ever because some areas don’t have restaurants open and you may be trying to avoid stepping foot in restaurants and grocery stores due to the spread of covid.

When our family goes on vacation, we tend to eat out once a day whether it be donuts for breakfast, hamburgers or pizza for lunch, dinner at a BBQ spot or some froyo as a sweet treat to cool us off. The rest of the meals we eat at our vacation home for the week. This usually involves me bringing a few things from home that are already prepared and doing a big grocery trip our first day of vacation (I highly recommend using Walmart pickup or a delivery service like Shipt for getting your vacation groceries). Because I like to rest and play as much as possible on vacation, I’m adamant that our meals have to be easy, not use a lot of dishes or ingredients, be somewhat healthy and be foods we all like.


My husband and I have eaten scrambled eggs for breakfast every single morning in the 13 years we’ve been married, so we do that on vacation, but I bring other easy breakfasts for our boys.

  • Eggs, bacon and toast. These are all super simple to make and require very few ingredients. Scrambled eggs are super easy, or sheet pan eggs are even easier. To keep everything as low-maintenance as possible I cook bacon in the microwave or in the oven. I also use the oven to make lots of toast all at one time. Using sheet pans, foil (for easy clean up) and the oven you can easily feed a crowd without having to do much hands-on cooking.
  • Bagels and cream cheese.
  • Cereal and milk.
  • Donuts.
  • Yogurt and granola.


We keep lunches super simple without any cooking, but if you want something a little more involved you could do anything from the dinner list.

  • Deli meat sandwiches. All you need is some bread, cold cuts, cheese, toppings and condiments for everyone to assemble their favorite sandwich.
  • Chicken salad. Before vacation every year I make a batch of our favorite Curried Chicken Salad and bring it with us in a cooler. We’ll eat it on bread, with crackers, or over a bed of greens for lunches. You can always buy store-bought chicken salad, or take some help from the store by using a rotisserie chicken to make your own.
  • Grilled cheese. Whether you go Wonder Bread with American cheese or sourdough spread with pesto, a tomato slice and a slice of buffalo mozzarella, everyone loves this crowd pleasing classic. Serve it with canned tomato soup to make it a little extra special. I always do my grilled cheese in the oven to make several sandwiches with minimal effort.
  • Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Not many ingredients required for this classic staple. It gets extra points because all of my kids are now old enough to make their own.


To keep things simple on vacation I usually take some help from the store with purchased seasoning packets, marinades and sauces.

  • Snack PlatterThis involves zero cooking and can help you use up whatever foods you have left in the fridge and pantry on your last day of vacation.
  • Sausages. We like pre-cooked chicken sausages, but you could any sausage or brat here. If you have a grill, grill the sausages and serve them with your favorite toppings. If not, I like this easy sheet pan sausage in the oven.
  • Hamburgers. Whether you make your own patties, or buy store-formed or frozen patties, hamburgers are a classic, crowd-pleasing meal. Grill them or cook them in a frying pan, then serve with buns, your favorite toppings and sides.
  • California Roll BowlsThe only cooking involved with these bowls is making rice. Feel free to use minute or frozen rice to make this even easier and you can also buy a bottle of Yum Yum sauce rather than making the sriracha mayo yourself.
  • Oven FajitasThese are a family favorite at our house. You can make them even easier on vacation by purchasing a packet of fajita seasoning and using that in place of the various spices.
  • Tacos. A taco bar is easy to throw together with some meat, a seasoning packet, shells and your favorite toppings.
  • Spaghetti with meat sauce. Ground meat, jarred sauce, some pasta and two pots are all you need for this easy dinner.
  • Breakfast for dinner. Make any of the breakfasts above or your favorite breakfast casserole for a fun family meal.
  • Pizza. We like to make our own semi-homemade pizza with pita bread, store-bought sauce, mozzarella and pepperoni, but by all means grab a frozen pizza and enjoy the night off.
  • Shrimp boil. When I think vacation food, this is a classic. Whether you do it in one pot on the stove or on a sheet pan in the oven, everyone will love this.
  • KebabsIf your vacation home has a grill, kebabs are a great way to cook up all your vegetables and protein at the same time. Use any of the recipes in this link, or simply choose your favorite meat and vegetables and a bottled marinade for an easy meal.
  • Chicken breasts. Whether you grill it or roast it grab some chicken, a bottled marinade or sauce, then cook it hands-free and serve with your favorite side dish.

Side dishes

  • Hummus and vegetables.
  • Bagged salad.
  • Grilled or roasted vegetables. Just toss your veggies with oil, salt and pepper and grill or roast them to your liking. We also love grilling or roasting corn on the cob as it is, right in the husk for a simple side.
  • Baked potato.
  • Chips.
  • Bags of frozen fries.
  • Canned baked beans.

What are your favorite vacation meals?

Shannon Mangerchine
Shannon lives in Central City, New Orleans with her husband, Jeremy, and three sons, Noah, Eli and Zeke. She left a career in Human Resources to take on her dream of being a stay-at-home mom. During this time, she and her husband founded a non-profit called Bastion Resources with the purpose of inspiring others to live a life of intimacy with God. Shannon is passionate about creating community and engaging in meaningful conversation around the dinner table. Recently, she created The Intentional Daily Journal to help people live with more purpose and clarity, which is available for purchase on Amazon. In her free time, Shannon enjoys all types of fitness, trying new restaurants, reading and discussing books with her book club, coffee dates with friends and hanging at the park with her family. Shannon is constantly creating new healthy recipes and sharing them on her blog Dinner Done by 9am.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here